• Kyodo


A new global framework to be adopted at the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction next month in Sendai is setting targets to sharply reduce the number of related deaths, economic losses and infrastructure damage by 2030, a draft plan shows.

If realized, it would be the first time the United Nations has unveiled specific targets and a time line on decreasing the risks posed by disasters, based on the draft obtained Saturday.

However, delegates are still studying whether to include numerical targets, with the draft showing proposed texts that denote reduction targets and alternative texts that are less specific and don’t mention figures.

Delegates will discuss the new framework at the U.N. conference in Sendai, which was hit hard by the March 2011 quake and tsunami. It will replace the 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action.

That framework was adopted at a 2005 U.N. conference in Kobe, and it did not cite numerical targets for disaster reduction.

While sticking to the basic policy of urging nations and local governments to prioritize disaster prevention measures and establish early-warning systems, the post-2015 framework also will identify seven global targets in view of recurrent natural hazards worldwide since 2005, according to the draft obtained by Kyodo News.

In addition to reducing disaster-induced deaths, economic losses and damage to infrastructure such as health and educational facilities, the draft also calls for cutting the number of people affected by disasters per capita, either by 20 percent or 30 percent. The global targets include ensuring public access to early-warning systems, and significantly increasing the number of countries with disaster risk-reduction strategies.

For an indicator on substantially reducing economic losses, the draft identifies such losses in relation to gross domestic product.

As for the provision of aid to developing countries, one proposal is for major economic powers to provide a certain level of funding, whereas another merely stresses the importance of international cooperation and partnership, according to the draft.

The draft notes the urgency in reducing disaster risks as a way to eliminate poverty, and says cutting these risks is an effective investment in preventing future losses.

Delegates to the five-day U.N. conference, which kicks off March 14, are also expected to issue a political declaration. In a draft statement, a copy of which was also obtained, they underline the need for discussions on disaster reduction, a subject that will be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.

The agenda is aimed at building upon the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which laid out eight objectives to be achieved by 2015, including the eradication of extreme poverty and the fight against diseases such as AIDS.

The draft declaration also says the delegates realize the need to address heightened disaster risks in urban areas.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.